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Mona Charen
Mona Charen
29 Aug 2014
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Is Trig at the Heart of Media's Reaction to Palin?

Comment

There were basically two things known about Sarah Palin when her name was announced on Aug. 29 and the mediasphere began to shudder and pulsate: She was a recently elected governor and the mother of five children including a handicapped infant. The scorn from the mainstream press and the left-leaning blog world was both intense and instantaneous. Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic immediately began circulating rumors that Trig was not the governor's baby — that she had engaged in a huge charade to cover up her teen daughter's illegitimate child. The New York Times reported on the front page that Palin had been a member of the Alaska Independence Party. Eleanor Clift of Newsweek described the reaction of most newsrooms to Palin's elevation as "literally laughter." US Weekly rushed out a cover story picturing Palin holding her baby son with the headline "Babies, Lies, & Scandal."

And that was just the throat-clearing phase. NBC's Brian Williams wondered whether she could discharge her responsibilities with all those kids. Sally Quinn of the Washington Post asked, "Will she put her country first, or will she put her family first?" Mort Kondracke called her a "wacko right-winger."

Now it hardly needs mentioning that Brian Williams and company would sew their own lips closed before ever uttering such heresy about a liberal woman candidate. Nor would it even occur to them to question any male candidate's fitness because of the number of children he had.

How do the media poobahs explain it? They say (and to her credit, Sally Quinn has apologized for her comments) that it was Palin's inexperience that prompted their contempt. But aren't these the same people who had just the week before been defending Barack Obama's thin resume?

Something about Sarah Palin set them off before their own politically correct impulses ("Must Avoid Sexism") could inhibit them. By the ferocity of the response, you might have thought Palin was a secret member of a polygamous cult or had forced her daughter to give birth after a rape.

But no, she was just the mother of five, hunting, fishing, NRA member, and governor.

I wonder if it was that baby.

Sarah Palin is no ordinary pro-lifer. She is an attractive, intelligent, ambitious, successful woman who has actually lived her convictions. Told that the baby she was carrying would be handicapped with Down syndrome, she and her husband made the only decision their consciences would permit — to welcome this child with the same love they would give to any other. That decision is comparatively rare in America. Fully 80 percent of parents who receive a diagnosis of Down syndrome in their unborn children elect to abort. But it's not unusual at all among committed pro-lifers. I have met many in the course of speaking to pro-life audiences. And for every couple that has chosen life for a handicapped child, there are thousands and perhaps millions more who have abjured prenatal testing because under no circumstances would they abort their children. I cannot count the times I've amazed pro-choice people with the news that there are even waiting lists of couples who stand ready to adopt Down syndrome babies.

The example of people living their principles by embarking on the undeniably difficult path of raising a handicapped child is a hard one to dismiss. In fact, it's hard not to admire. Don't most of us, deep down, really think that the most humane and honorable thing is to treat all life as sacred? Even if you are not religious or have no belief in God — doesn't it appeal to an enlightened humanism to give support and love to the handicapped? In fact, most pro-choice people probably treat the handicapped with terrific compassion and care. They doubtless support civil rights legislation like the Americans with Disabilities Act, additional school spending, and generous Social Security benefits. They'd be the first to hold the door for someone in a wheelchair, and they'd be friendly toward anyone with obvious mental retardation.

But for themselves, they would abort. And there stands Sarah, Trig Palin in her arms, a beautiful ambassador for the path of humility, duty, honor, and grace. It's no wonder she was in their crosshairs from the get go.

To find out more about Mona Charen and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.



Comments

12 Comments | Post Comment
Come on Mona, your statement, "By the ferocity of the response, you might have thought Palin was a secret member of a polygamous cult or had forced her daughter to give birth after a rape" is more ironic than you realize. She WOULD force her daugher, and every other woman in America, to have a baby after a rape, even after incestuous rape. As a pro-choice woman, who believes in the sanctity of life, but does not believe in compulsory pregnancy, it's insulting that another woman (especially) would have the government decide our reproductive rights for us. I'm sure there are good things about Palin; however, her far-right ideaology including compulsory preganacies and teaching creationism in school is a bit "too far to the right" for most Americans. Right now the Evangelical right-wing of the Republican party is having a love-fest with Palin...I'm waiting for the rest of America to catch up with what this woman really stands for.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Sandra
Tue Sep 9, 2008 7:14 AM
"But for themselves, they would abort. And there stands Sarah, Trig Palin in her arms, a beautiful ambassador for the path of humility, duty, honor, and grace. It's no wonder she was in their crosshairs from the get go."

As a Pro-Choice woman, I find your conclusion here to be insulting and completely incorrect. Just because I firmly believe that every woman has the right to choose, does not mean that I would automatically have an abortion if I were told my child might have Down Syndrome. Nor does it mean that any or every other Pro-Choice woman would. In fact, a dear friend of mine (Pro-Choice all the way) was recently told her unborn son might have Down Syndrome and she elected to carry him to term, regardless.

Also, if she had no intention of aborting a child ever, why did she bother with the testing? Surely, no matter what, she would have never thought to terminate. It seems to me like that was a waste of medical time and energies.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Sabrina
Tue Sep 9, 2008 11:09 AM
You know Mona, I think the attacks on Palin in terms of her parenting choices are sexist and the media, left, right, inside-out or upside-down, should be take to task for that. No one has questioned whether or not Barack Obama should run since he has young children. I'm sure Sara Palin's husband is just as capaable of parenting as Barack Obama's wife is. I'll make my decision based on the McCain/Republican positions on all the issues and Palin's stance on those will be a factor. However, I think attributing the attacks to a pro-choice reaction to her choice to have Trig is way off base.

I'm an older mom - I never had any prenatal testing done because it didn't matter to me - I chose to become pregnant and I knew that I would choose to bear my child no matter what. The whole point here is that I have a choice - and so did Sara Palin. Even if the very idea of abortion is anathema to her, she still had a choice. When pro-life becomes pro birth control and pro economic equality and pro universal health care, then we can talk. Until then, I remain pro-choice - and that's really what Sara Palin is too - because she had a choice.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Cristina
Tue Sep 9, 2008 11:55 AM
I think what Obama and people like him don't like the fact that Gov. Sarah Palin didn't have to spend
several million dollars to get elected to Vice-President! It certainly shows the hard-working Taxpayers that you can get elected, honestly, without the ‘show and tell' hype being put out the past several months! THIS IS WHAT'S WRONG WITH OBAMA, OPRAH, CLINTON, KERRY, KENNEDYS, RANGEL, JUST TO NAME A FEW, Gov. Palin actually showed them up for "WHAT THEY REALLY ARE!"
After listening to Obama (bin laden) and his comments, several times, when talking about Gov. Sarah Palin, were "AMERICANS ARE STUPID!" His ignorant comments about the folks in Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania leave Taxpayers to wonder "Who does he think he is?" Did that Rev. Wright, besides brainwashing him and others like him, lead him to believe that because he was part African he was something special? I don't think so and think of what he's contributed to America, in his less than 2 years in politics, absolutely nothing! His background with Tony Rezko and Chicago would make honest, taxpaying Americans want to make sure he's the last one to get elected.
Let's take a look at who's backing him. the illegitimates, who've had illegitimates by the dozens, who are allowed to 'DISCRIMINATE AGAINST TAXPAYERS, by being allowed to Vote, tells taxpayers they won't be able to keep the roof over their families heads if the 'Tax & Spend' Obama and his buddies get into the White House!
AMERICA, YOU NEED TO WAKE UP!
Comment: #4
Posted by: Shirley deLong
Tue Sep 9, 2008 12:09 PM
I completely agree with you. The Down syndrome baby has upset the left wing liberal and the radical feminist. It is more than mere words - it is someone actually choosing the hard and difficult based on their religious convictions.
That is a shocker.
To pro-lifers like me, it is rejuvenating, because here is someone genuine, whom we can trust beyond mere words and opinions.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Anil
Tue Sep 9, 2008 12:23 PM
I am pro choice. My three year old son is disabled and has a siezure disorder. I would never have aborted him and love him with all my heart. I feel that no woman should ever put herself through the ordeal of abortion, but everyone should have that option. Who am I to make that decision for someone else. That is between them and God. Your article seems very narrowminded and simple.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Tressie
Tue Sep 9, 2008 1:03 PM

Clift should be ashamed of herself.

Clift and her late husband, Tom Brazaitis, who was a columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, wrote two books together, "War Without Bloodshed: The Art of Politics" (Scribner, 1996), and "Madam President: Shattering the Last Glass Ceiling" (Scribner, 2000). "Madam President" is available in paperback (Routledge Press). Clift's most recent book, "Founding Sisters" is about the passage of the 19th amendment giving women the vote (John Wiley & Sons, 2003).

But she clearly does not seem to rate a woman governor or VP highly.

The US Weekly journalist actually apologized and admitted she is a Republican, but the fact that reportedly 10,000 people canceled their subscriptions after her article just goes to show that there IS a limit to the amount of trash people will accept. After the attacks on her, I have certainly reached mine, and I am not a Republican.Hats off to H Clinton's aides, and Women Count for defending her against this arrant sexism. Which is even wore when perpetrated by women against other women!

http://www.guru-goddess.com


Comment: #7
Posted by: jm
Tue Sep 9, 2008 1:20 PM
McCain himself has distanced himself from evangelicals on the grounds that they 'breed intolerance'. But one's personal relationship with spirituality is just that, personal.

A person can be a politician and a human being too.

In fact, it is the duty of the politician to represent the interests of their constituents, even if they do not always personally agree with it.

I personally do not agree with smoking, but I am not going to set to try to ban it.

In addition, there is a Senate, and a House. THEY have the responsibility of helping to provide checks and balances.

VP and even President is being given far too much power here. They are not dictators, after all.

If they win, we need to all hold them accountable on the war and economy, and she will be so busy she will not even have time to bash her Bible. Nor Obama and Biden either!


Comment: #8
Posted by: jm
Tue Sep 9, 2008 1:27 PM
Re: Anil
I've been lucky to have a relatively high functioning brother (26) with a few congenital defects and has surpassed the life expectancy the doctors gave us not to mention his cognitive abilities. It IS (not was) a lot of work and a lot of family sacrifices had to be made together for him to get this far.

So when i listened to her speech i had to double check that i wasn't watching MADtv or some other parody show. Can you snort crude oil?

Having a 4 month old Downs child does not give you any special qualifications; if you've fought our decrepit education system, dealt with disability and social services, gone to IEP meetings,PHP, counseling for the siblings, gone through the emotional turmoil when your child still has problems reading, speaking at 30, or has to have a colostomy bag you change every couple hours then you've got some brass balls worth polishing for VP.

"Fully 80 percent of parents who receive a diagnosis of Down syndrome in their unborn children elect to abort. But it's not unusual at all among committed pro-lifers." - glutton for punishment anyone?
Committed pro-lifers? Is this a contest or something? How many are fully committed to standing in front of a moving bus out of faith? You have to be fully committed to the childs' life, not just the act of popping something out of your uterus.
How/why would you even consider running for VP with that kind of responsibility?
a) she hasn't thought it out
b) hopes members of the cabinet will takes turns being nanny
c) assumes the taxpayers will have no problem paying for someone else to deal with him


I can't say that this is always the case but those i know of have opted to abort for financial and quality-of-life reasons for the Downs child. While things are light years away from what they used to be 20 years ago. It takes a massive amount of time, energy and money to bring up a child with special needs not to mention still taking time for your other children, unless you shove your responsibility to someone else like a dust mop, there is no time to be VP of a country with an image so badly tarnished.

"Trig will have the best care if she lands the VP spot" That may be true.. And after she isn't VP we'll still be paying for his health care for years to come.... Hmm, maybe thats what she is banking on...for the rest of us to pay for her 'commitment'....
I fear Trig will become the token retard of the US (GW is probably crossing his fingers on that)...
Loved only for the symbolism and media deflection from her other 'commitments' and not for himself.
Comment: #9
Posted by: dan s
Tue Sep 9, 2008 2:06 PM
I agree whole-heartedly with Tressie - comment #5. No one should have the right - or even TRY to obtain the right to take that choice away. This article REALLY frustrated me as it showed another WOMAN clearly supporting another WOMAN in her quest to rob WOMEN of their basic rights to control their bodies. Did you or did you not, live through a time in our not-so-recent past, when abortion was illegal. Do you not remember how many women died from underground abortions??? It might not effect you now that you are older - but think about your daughters, your daughters friends, your sons girlfriends, the daughter of your friend next door. You might feel safe and insulated from it - but it affects ALL WOMEN. And again - do you REALLY think that any woman would WANT to have an abortion??? Come on people. Wake up.

And another searingly strong point brought up by Sabrina in comment #1. If she truly had no intention ever to have an abortion - why did she opt for the testing?

Supporting her, as this article did, for the reasons it did and every other reason - THAT is unethical.
Comment: #10
Posted by: bonnie
Fri Sep 12, 2008 5:58 AM
SINCE the act of flying with AMNIOTIC fluid dripping from one's crotch IS a female ONLY experience, the conversation over he CHOICE to RISK her baby to fly 8+hrs ONLY because she wanted Trig to be born in Alaska and be an Alaskan. HELLLO, that whole meme does not hold water (Excuse the pun), as she passed more qualified hospitals in Anchorage, that would have satidifed and PROTECTED the unborn child within* her. (*Still unproven, show the birth certificate and we will shut up)
She has made horrendously bad parental decisions overseeing her 16yo DAUGHTER (now pregnant, if not on a second one, see Trig above) and her 18yo son, who was forced to join the Army to thwart jail time for vandalizing school buses. (He actually spent the last year of HS in Michigan to get away from the other 3 evil doers.) And now the CHOICE (decision) to HUGELY risk her unborn child. So, she has been a poor parent, in fact BOTH of them have been poor parents for 60% of their kids, actually risking their lives at some point.

Good job.
Comment: #11
Posted by: Alecto
Sat Sep 13, 2008 9:58 AM
SINCE the act of flying with AMNIOTIC fluid dripping from one's crotch IS a female ONLY experience, ergo "Sexist" this is not only allowed to be discussed by females though, as it has safety and security raminfications that ALL are privy and can relate to. The conversation over her CHOICE to RISK her baby to fly 8+hrs ONLY because she wanted "Trig to be born in Alaska and be an Alaskan.," HELLLO, does not hold water (excuse the pun), as she passed more qualified and closer hospitals in Anchorage that would have satisifed her "Alaskan" desire AND PROTECTED the unborn child within* her. (*Still unproven, show the birth certificate and we will shut up)
She has made horrendously bad parental decisions overseeing her 16yo DAUGHTER (now pregnant, if not on a second one, see Trig above) and her 18yo son, who was forced to join the Army to thwart jail time for vandalizing school buses. (He actually spent the last year of HS in Michigan to get away from the other 3 evil doers.) And now the CHOICE (decision) to HUGELY risk her unborn child. So, she has been a poor parent, in fact BOTH of them have been poor parents for 60% of their kids, actually risking their lives at some point.

Good job.
Comment: #12
Posted by: Alecto
Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:06 AM
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